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Virtual Memory


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#1
snickers

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I get an error that virtual memory is low. What does this mean and what can I do to remedy it?
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#2
jaxisland

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How much RAM to you have?
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#3
snickers

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I don't remember exactly. I think it is 256 or 512.
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#4
jaxisland

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Go to Start -> Right click on My Computer and that first screen should tell you. I need to know how much RAM you have so we can adjust the virtual memory.
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#5
snickers

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512 mb of ram.
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#6
1101doc

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Virtual Memory is that part of the hard drive which Windows uses as though it was Ram. When a memory intensive procedure is underway, if all Ram is being used, Windows will write whatever it needs to remember to the hard drive and retrieve it later. Reasons for low virtual Memory can be as simple as a setting in system properties, or an over full hard drive which prevents Windows from using the space it needs.

Common wisdom holds that Virtual Memory (also called the Page File) should be 2.5 times the size of RAM, and that to limit page file fragmentation, the upper and lower limits of the page file should be the same. With only 512 RAM (or lower), I think it best to allow Windows to manage the size of the page file, especially if one uses intensive programs like photo or video editing. A Google of "Page File" or "Virtual Memory" will provide almost too much information to help you decide. Myself, with a Gig of RAM, I leave my page file to System managed size just to be sure that I never run out of memory. I also make sure that there is plenty of free space on my local disc for Windows to use if required.

To adjust Virtual memory, open the System applet of the Control Panel and select the Advanced tab. The top section includes Virtual Memory. Click the Settings button under Performance, and then open the Advanced tab again. The bottom section is what is needed. There, select the Change button to open the dialog in which you can change the size of the Page File. In the top section, highlight the drive you will be modifying. (usually C:\) If you are going to use a specific size, mark the radio button for "Custom size," and then fill in the two boxes with maximum and minimum sizes. To let Windows manage the Page File, mark the radio button for "System Managed Size." Either way, after making the changes click the Set button. Then OK and Apply your way out. A reboot will be required to effect the changes, and Windows will likely present a message to that effect.

If you discover that your Page File IS set to "System Managed Size," AND you are receiving a low virtual memory warning, the most likely cause is an over full hard drive. Movie, video, and photo files take up the most room per file. Move them off the hard drive, to CD, DVD, or external USB drive to make enough room for Windows to use as a page file on the local disc.

Good luck, and please post back with your progress.
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#7
anzenketh

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You might also want to think of upgrading your RAM 512 is the Minimum.
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